Plot: What’s it about?
Perhaps one of the more interesting concepts (note: not movies) to come out of the Disney studio in quite some time; doesn’t involve a lion, mouse or any other "earthly" creature. No, rather it is some thing by the name of Stitch. Disney, going against the current, has put out a movie that really tends to buck the system in which they helped create. This isn’t an epic of any proportion, no one saves the world and Elton John doesn’t croon out the theme song (it’s a mix of Elvis and Wynonna Judd). Lilo & Stitch is a different kind of movie, one that deals with the deaths of parents (though it is in reference only), and some back-handed humor/comments that might have parents guessing if it’s ok for their kids to see it. It is, but maybe for those "older" kids that fall in the category "too old to see Snow White and too young to see Eight Crazy Nights". The thing is that it isn’t that bad of a movie, just different and were it not for the Disney logo, I would have never of guessed it emerged from the Magic Kingdom. Even the advertising for it mentioned something to the effect of "…there’s one in every family…" in which the character of Stitch was present and all of the established "classic" Disney characters were rolling their cartoon eyes.
We first meet Stitch as "Experiment 626" not to be confused with the Mazda car, he is an experiment of a mad doctor on a far away planet. He looks odd, though no more odd than the inhabitants of the planet, and though small, can life 3000 times his weight. He’s programmed to literally destroy everything in his path. Sensing the threat, the leaders of the planet sentence the doctor to a prison sentence and order the little guy (Stitch) terminated. As "luck" would have it, he manages to escape to Earth and though Water kills him, he’s fortunate enough to land smack dab in the middle of Hawaii. Being mistaken for a dog, Lilo adopts him as her own, though she’s got problems of her own. Her parents are dead and is being raised by her older sister, who is a better sister than mother. Having lost her job and being pursued by a "specialist" who’s not too happy with her parenting skills, life isn’t so grand. Naturally, Stitch is the yen to Lilo’s yang and madness ensues. The doctor and the resident "expert" on Earth only add fuel to the fire as they are constantly trying to destroy Stitch and get back to their home planet. Do you think all might work out well and they all live happily ever after? In a conventional Disney movie, maybe; but this isn’t a conventional Disney movie…
Video: How does it look?
The seemingly brilliant 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer makes it great to watch on even a big screen television. While the target audience probably won’t look at the movie the way I did, I can safely say that the image is near perfect. I did notice a slight bit of edge enhancement that seemed a bit odd for a more traditionally-drawn movie (albeit a cartoon). Though the image does sport a 3-D like quality to it, this isn’t perfect; just the next best thing. Colors are bright and vivid throughout and no artifacting or any other errors reared their ugly head (just Stitch). Surprisingly enough, the movie is THX encoded.
Audio: How does it sound?
Only a Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included as most of their newer titles have dual DTS and Dolby Digital included. Still, the track included is fine and sounds great to boot. I almost had to turn it down a few times, but kept telling myself that this is animation (not that it matters these days). Plenty of action on the screen will keep all of your speakers humming and the surrounds even do their part to make for a very good audio experience. I could really go on and on, but suffice it to say that the presentation here is top-notch.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As is the trend these days, this is more of a bare-bones release, as a more spectacular version is planned for a release some time in the future. The disc does sport it’s share of supplements, though. I’ll try to be brief, as most of the featurettes don’t even last long enough to really "get into" them. There are three deleted scenes, but as the director explains, they wouldn’t have worked in the film. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, they run about seven minutes. A series of featurettes are also included: "Inter Stitch-als", "Burning Love", "Hula Lesson", "DisneyPedia-Hawaii", "Young Voices in Hawaii", "Animating the Hula" and "The Look of Lilo and Stitch". All of these are pretty self-explanatory when you consider that Elvis’ songs pop up through the movie from almost beginning to end. I did enjoy the Inter Stitch-als, though, at four minutes I’d love to see some more. Also included is a music video with Wynonna Judd singing the theme song and a nifty little feature that lets you build a new alien. All in all, this is the calm before the storm (the "storm" being the new DVD Special Edition coming out), but kids might enjoy this offbeat comedy by Disney.